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March 4, 2016

Looking Back - From Beginning to End


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives by Robert Fulghum
Nonfiction
1995 Villard Books
Finished in February 1996
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)




Publisher's Blurb:

Here is the book of a lifetime: a celebration of our everyday lives. Births, weddings, reunions, funerals: These are some of the events that Robert Fulghum explores in this powerful new work.

How we change--yet remain constant--from moment to moment, year to year, from one stage of life to another, is Fulghum's memorable theme in From Beginning to End. Here, America's most beloved philosopher and essayist teaches us how to address our personal transformations, large and small, with dignity, love, and acceptance. Whether they are public rituals, anything from weddings to sales meetings; private rituals, such as the saying of grace at a family dinner; or secret passages, such as one's personal greeting of the day, these habits and routines are sacred, as they bring structure and meaning to daily life, enriching who we are both individually and collectively. "Structure gives us a sense of security," Fulghum writes. "And that sense of security is the ground of meaning." In this book, Fulghum prepares us for the whole range of meaningful and spiritual journeys that we take from childhood to old age.

Filled with unforgettable anecdotes and practical advice, and replete with Fulghum's signature wit, wisdom, and sagacity, From Beginning to End is a book to cherish, savor, and return to again and again for all the days of our lives.

My Original Notes:

Not as humorous as his previous books, yet filled with wonderful anecdotes. Good examples of non-traditional weddings, baptisms and funeral ceremonies. Also, an excellent "how-to" list for getting things in order for your death. A great book for a parent to give to a child when they graduate from high school. Great reference section.

My Current Thoughts:

I doubt a high school graduate would appreciate this book, but maybe a college graduate could glean something from Fulghum's advice. 

It's been ages since I've read anything by Robert Fulghum. As I recall, I enjoyed All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (pub. 1988) and I'm fairly certain that I read It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It and Uh-Oh, but I notice that I no longer own them, so I wonder if I didn't like them as much as his first book.

Thumbing through my copy of From Beginning to End, I see several topics that I'd like to revisit, so this book is going back on my shelf for a second reading.

About the Author (from his website):

Robert Fulghum was born in 1937, and grew up in Waco, Texas. In his youth he worked as a ditch-digger, newspaper carrier, ranch hand, and singing cowboy. After college and a brief career with IBM, he returned to graduate school to complete a degree in theology. For 22 years he served as a Unitarian parish minister in the Pacific Northwest.

During the same period he taught drawing, painting, and philosophy at the Lakeside School in Seattle. Fulghum is an accomplished painter and sculptor. He sings, and plays the guitar and mando-cello and was a founding member of the The Rock-Bottom Remainders–a rock and roll band of author-musicians. He is a member of The Beat Goes On Marching Band of Portland, Oregon, in which he plays cymbals and tambourine.

Robert Fulghum is married to the painter, Willow Bader. He lives part-time in Seattle, Washington, Moab, Utah, and in Kolymbari on the Greek island of Crete.

8 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I ever read any of his works, even the Kindergarten book. And I also don't think I knew he grew up in Waco. Hmmm.....

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    1. Hmmmm, perhaps you should give one of his books a try, Kay. Do you read essays? I wonder if his books feel dated or if I'd still appreciate them after all these years.

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  2. I have never even heard of this before. I haven't read any essays recently. Maybe it is time I should!

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    1. Well, I'm glad I started this weekly "Looking Back" post so I can introduce some of you to authors you've never heard of. :) I love essays and hope to some day reread one or two of his earlier books.

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  3. I don't think I've read any of his books and I had no idea he grew up in Waco, TX.

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    1. Iliana, I don't know how I got interested in his books, but they must've struck a chord with me since I read at least three of his collections of essays. I wonder if they've stood the test of time...

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  4. Isn't it amazing how our opinions about books can change over time? It's one of the reasons I'm fearful of rereading favorites - read from a different point in life, I'm sure my opinion might be different.

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    1. Lisa, I feel the same way about rereading favorites. I would hate to discover I don't have the same feelings about a book I loved after reading it a second time. However, I've reread Odd Thomas, Pope Joan and The Sparrow (to name a few that just came to me) and loved them just as much, if not more after the second reading.

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